Downton Deliberations – Season Three Christmas Special
Following on from episode 8, where the men seem to be all on a level playing field, this episode is set at Duneagle Castle, in the Scottish Highlands for a 10-day summer sojourn.
The theme of this final episode is one of everyone showing their true colours. All of the spots on all of the leopards come clearly into focus, preparing us for what portends to be a gripping fourth season.
There is some tension evident between Thomas and James with the new assignments as James as 1st footman and Thomas as Under butler. At the Thirsk Country Fair, the Downton team unfairly wins tug of war; James gets drunk and is accosted by the sore losers on his way home; but it is Thomas who comes to his aide and gets badly beaten himself. As it turns out, he had been following James with the hope of taking advantage of his drunken state. James visits the recovering Thomas and they end up as friends after a civil chat and their cards are finally laid on the table.
Tom remains at Downton instead of going to Duneagle, as he doesn’t know the Flintshires. Tom’s feelings for his Irish roots are strained with the flirtations of the new maid, Edna. He does manage to resist her inappropriate advances, showing he does know right from wrong, and bodes well for the future of Downton.
Even the cameo roles such as Mr. Moseley and Mrs. Patmore's suitor, Tufton, show the very real characters that are part of any society.
Lord Flintshire (Shrimpie) and Robert commiserate about the former's unhappiness. “How little we have in common”, referring to his hopeless marriage. He goes on to confide he will be losing his estate. In a momentary glance we can see Robert reflect on how his own life might have turned out had he not been rescued. In the end Robert has restored himself in his own mind as the real head of the family, which of course he has been all along, having sorting out Alfred's phone call to the police, staffing issues between James and Thomas, and nodding to Tom that perhaps the new ideas of managing Downton are worth a try.
Carson flexes his muscle a bit reasserting his position as boss while the family is away, but feels undermined. “Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.” We get a glimpse into Carson's paternal side as he holds baby Sybil. The continuity of devotion through the generations is reassuring.
One of Matthew's finest lines before the fateful car crash, “Don’t dislike him before you know him. That’s a hallmark of our parents’ generation, and I forbid it.” Matthew delivers this to Mary, who gives birth to their son – the next generation and heir to Downton. The ever-cold Mary sees it as her duty.
How do you see the next season unfolding. I can see multiple seasons and hope there will be many.
The Etiquette Guy
Wow, what an episode!
Things certainly are changing in Yorkshire!
When did Clarkson go from rolling his eyes at Isobel to wanting to propose? Did we miss an episode along the way?
I find Edith’s attitude about her beau quite bold and modern (to quote everyone’s favourite Downton villain) and I think she might be the only one of the three Crawley girls who ends up happy.
The Rose storyline is a big unnerving. Will she come to Downton and make a mockery of the place? I do hope Season 4 isn’t all about her antics.
The character of the episode was Shrimpy’s gun room. Can we take a moment to admire his collection? It’s quite impressive!
How did Matthew end up as an officer in the British Army but can’t shoot a deer? Why did it seem like he had never held a gun in his life?
There seems to be quite a lot of repetition of storylines and script; Tom kissing the maid, the Gunga Din line. I hope this isn’t a sign Fellowes is losing his imagination.
It’s nice to see Anna and Bates finally happy! The picnic and Ball scenes were magical to say the least.
I loved the scene between Mrs Hughes and Tom, it’s nice that he has someone to talk to about his grief and steer him in the right direction.
I do hope Tom will finally find some peace in his life and turn over a new leaf. He only wants to be love and his loneliness and anger are ruining his life.
A new baby is always such a joy, Mary and Matthew could’ve been so happy. The moment Robert was talking about change and uncertainty over the footage of Matthew driving down the road I knew it wouldn’t end well. It’s a shame Matthew had to be killed off but at least he left an heir. My prediction is Tom and Mary will join forces to run the estate until the baby is old enough to take over.
It has been quite a journey this season and a delight to work with Jay to bring Downton Deliberations to the blogisphere each week!